Throughout the month of April, the Bristol Police Department and law enforcement officers statewide will use a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and drive.
According to a press release from the Bristol Police Department, the effort is part of a larger campaign by the state Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to crack down on motorists who text, talk, or distract themselves from driving.
The campaign, called “U Drive. U Text. U Pay,” consists of 50 law enforcement agencies statewide and is national in scope, the release said. Officers will be out in force looking for identify, stop, and cite motorists who choose to ignore the state’s handheld mobile phone ban and distracted driving laws, the release said. Fines range from $150 for the first offense to $300 for the second violation to $500 for each subsequent violation, the release said.
According to the release, distracted driving includes any activity that shifts a person’s attention away from the main task of driving. As texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is considered to be one of the most alarming distractions, the release said.
According to latest data from the NHTSA, in 2013 nationwide, 3,154 people lost their lives and an estimated 424,000 were hurt in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, the release said.
“Our goal is simple. We want to save lives by enforcing Connecticut’s tough penalties for distracted driving, namely texting while driving,” said the police department in the release.
Although the focused enforcement mobilization will end April 30, the Bristol Police Department said in the release it will continue enforcing the handheld phone ban throughout the year.